Definition of sword in English:

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Pronunciation: /sôrd/


1A weapon with a long metal blade and a hilt with a hand guard, used for thrusting or striking and now typically worn as part of ceremonial dress.
Example sentences
  • She grasped the hilt of her sword and thrust it at the stones, wedged it between the planks on the door.
  • Other lethal weapons such as swords, bayonets, crossbows and knives have also been surrendered.
  • The light played off the steel blades of swords, daggers and the occasional axe.
blade, foil, broadsword, épée, cutlass, rapier, saber, scimitar
literary brand
1.1 (the sword) literary Military power, violence, or destruction: not many perished by the sword
More example sentences
  • And even though he would have liked an honorable death by the sword … I do not think that he ever wished for this to happen the way it did.
  • In South America, the earliest Aztecs had converted people by the sword.
  • The historical sources are clear that the relationship was hostile and that negotiation was by the sword.
1.2 (swords) One of the suits in a tarot pack.
Example sentences
  • In the North East of Lombardy the Italian suits: swords, batons, cups and coins are used.
  • The suits are cups, coins, swords and batons, and each suit contains seven different cards.
  • The four Latin suits are swords, batons, cups and coins.



beat (or turn) swords into ploughshares

Devote resources to peaceful rather than warlike ends.
With biblical allusion to Is. 2:4 and Mic. 4:3
Example sentences
  • The work of a Cotswold charity that keeps alive the idea of beating swords into ploughshares will be highlighted by Comic Relief on Sunday.
  • As a military member, my association with violence and war appears to compromise my service of the God who would turn swords into plowshares.
  • Spiritless environmentalism may not ultimately be enough - but spirit-based environmentalism needs to act quickly if it is to show that it has the power to turn swords into ploughshares.

he who lives by the sword dies by the sword

proverb Those who commit violent acts must expect to suffer violence themselves.
Example sentences
  • Raimondo interrupts the standoff, reminding them of God's law that he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.
  • As the old adage goes, he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.
  • He paused and added, ‘But he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.’

put to the sword

Kill, especially in war.
Example sentences
  • Whole villages were put to the sword, livestock was slaughtered, crops destroyed and famine and disease decimated the survivors.
  • There wasn't all that much of the murderous stuff that took place later in the Thirty Years War, when towns were sacked and people who were not involved in the war were all put to the sword.
  • After a brief resistance the town was taken by storm and 20,000 men, women and children were put to the sword or burned to death, including hundreds who had packed the cathedral seeking sanctuary.

the sword of justice

Judicial authority.
Example sentences
  • Law professor Paul Laband argued in 1897 that women were too weak ‘to wield the sword of justice.’
  • But the sword of justice should not be used to force me to compensate those with less talent.
  • Justice attempts to settle matters to the highest truth, to separate truth from falsehood (the function of the sword of justice).



Pronunciation: /-ˌlīk/
Example sentences
  • The sword-like arms glinted in the sun of the morning.
  • The cooked parts of the cone of meat are cut into very thin slices with a huge, sword-like knife and arranged on a plate with pickles and pita bread.
  • Other figures wear carnivalesque masks with sword-like beaks, marking them as birds of prey.


Old English sw(e)ord, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zwaard and German Schwert.

  • As with swim, Beowulf gives us the first example of sword. The notion of devoting resources to peaceful rather than aggressive or warlike ends is sometimes expressed as beating (or turning) swords into ploughshares, a reference to the biblical image of God's peaceful rule: ‘they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks’ (Book of Isaiah). Also biblical is the expression he who lives by the sword dies by the sword—in the Gospel of Matthew, when men came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane one of his disciples drew his sword and cut off the ear of ‘the servant of the high priest’, earning a rebuke from Jesus: ‘All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.’ See also thread

Words that rhyme with sword

aboard, abroad, accord, afford, applaud, award, bawd, board, broad, chord, Claude, cord, ford, fraud, gaud, Gawd, hoard, horde, laud, lord, maraud, milord, sward, toward, unawed, unexplored, unrestored, ward

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sword

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